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How Long Do I Have To File A Car Accident Lawsuit?

States mandate the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. In South Carolina, you have three years to file a lawsuit with your local civil court, starting with the day the accident occurred. However, filing sooner rather than later can significantly benefit your claim, and an experienced car accident attorney can help you recover damages faster and more efficiently.

Why Is It Better To File a Claim as Fast as Possible?

Filing a car accident claim promptly is essential for several reasons. Over time, memories can fade or become distorted, complicating the claims process. While you have three years to file a lawsuit, many insurance policies have stipulated time frames for you to report the accident and file your claim. Immediate reporting ensures that the details are fresh in your mind, making them more reliable.

Delaying could result in claim denial or the diminishment of your losses. Also, physical evidence at the accident scene, like skid marks or debris, can change or disappear, and you may struggle to find witnesses with reliable memories. Quick claims also help you receive timely medical evaluations, linking injuries directly to the accident and safeguarding your interests to maximize compensation potential.

How Can You Receive Compensation Without Filing a Lawsuit?

You can feasibly receive compensation without filing a lawsuit in a car accident through several means:

  • Insurance claimsThe most common method is filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurer can offer a settlement Upon evaluating the accident details and your damages.
  • Direct negotiations. You can engage directly with the at-fault party to negotiate a settlement. Both parties agree on the amount of compensation without involving insurance or courts.
  • Mediation. If initial negotiations stall, you can use a neutral third-party mediator to help reach an agreement. Mediation can provide a platform for clear communication and compromise.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution. You may also pursue other forms of ADR, such as arbitration. An arbitrator reviews the evidence and renders a decision, which can be binding or non-binding.
  • Using legal counsel. You can hire an attorney to help you through the claims process and make it easier to reach a settlement.

Exploring these avenues may allow you to achieve a resolution without resorting to a time-consuming and often expensive litigation process.

Hiring a Legal Representative To Help

When you hire a car accident attorney to handle your case, they take over all the legal and administrative processes, starting with a thorough investigation into the accident and aftermath to gather evidence. They will handle all negotiations with the insurance company and fight to protect your rights. They keep you informed and complete all paperwork so you can focus on healing from your injuries without battling a combative, liable party.

What Happens if You Miss the Deadline to File a Car Accident Claim?

Missing the deadline to file a car accident lawsuit can negatively impact your claim in a few ways. If you attempt to file after the statute of limitations ends, the court will likely dismiss your case. If you missed the insurance deadline for filing a claim, they may deny it. It can also reduce the amount of leverage you have during negotiations. However, if you think you missed the deadline, you may have a valid reason, and an experienced attorney can help you take action to receive compensation.

Reasons the Court May Extend the Deadline

In South Carolina, there are three specific circumstances under which the court may extend the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit. For minors or individuals suffering from legal insanity at the time of the accident, the countdown does not commence until they turn 18 or until the cessation of their legal insanity, allowing them one year from that date to file. If the at-fault party leaves the state, the countdown halts and only resumes when they return. Lastly, you have the discovery rule. If the accident results in injuries that are not immediately apparent, the court may extend the deadline to allow you more time to file based on when you discovered your injuries.

Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney To Help With Your Case?

If you recently suffered injuries or property damage or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, a car accident lawyer can help you build a solid case for compensation. At Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers, we work with car accident victims to reach a fair settlement as quickly as possible with the goal of avoiding court. However, we prepare your case for trial when necessary and will fight to protect your rights. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and take the first step in restoring your losses.

Contact Us Today!


It's free to speak with us about your case, and if you hire us, we don't get paid unless we win.

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Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers

1333 Main St #510,
Columbia, SC 29201

(803) 373-1668

Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers

5465 Sunset Blvd Suite B,
Lexington, SC 29072

(803) 373-1302

Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers

161 Elliott St SE Suite B,
Orangeburg, SC 29115

(803) 373-7593

Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers

749-2 University Village Dr,
Blythewood, SC 29016

(803) 592-6553

! NOTICE ! No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues or problems.

Files are primarily handled in our main office in Columbia.

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